DIY Thursdays: All Butter Puff Pastry from Scratch

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I am bringing back one of my old favourites, that’s right. Ever since I introduced the DIY column in my blog, I realized that there are people like me in the world, who don’t mind taking the extra effort to make something at home, if it means that it will save them plenty of money. And let’s face it, the joy you get, to feel and taste the fruits of your effort is something else, it eggs you to make more things and save more money, money from your precious baking budget.

So I rummaged my archives to find the recipe for an all-butter puff pastry for you. I use it ever so often, I mention it at least a dozen times in my other posts, so it’s only fair I give you a step by step, detailed instructions on how to make your own puff pastry at home.

First of all, puff pastry sheets are not readily available everywhere and even if they are, they are imported and expensive. So if you bake often like me, you may want to make a batch at home and throw them in the freezer before using.

I am not going to lie to you, it will not be one of the easiest things you have made in the kitchen. But I will also tell you this, if you follow the instructions carefully, you will get it right and you can then pin up the professional baker badge to your apron.

Ps: I know people use margarine instead of butter, but I would recommend you against it. I have tried both and the results are in no way similar.

puff diagram

Ingredients

  • 165 g ( 1 ¼  cup) flour
  • 95 g  (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) cake flour (1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn flour)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  •  ½ cup + 2  tbsp ice water
  • 226 g (1 cup) unsalted butter,  cold and solid

Method

Prep work

  • In a food processor, add both flours and salt. Pulse a few times. Add the cold water all at once, pulsing until the dough becomes a ball. The dough has to be slightly sticky and pliable at this point, like that of clay.
  • Remove the dough from the processor, form a ball and with a knife, slash the surface in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp tea towel and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  • Now, measure out 226 g of butter from your butter brick. Place the brick between 2 sheets of cling film and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square which is 1 inch thick.
  • Now, if the butter begins to melt, put it back in the refrigerator until it hardens.

Encasing the butter in the dough

  • Take the dough out from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Place it on a clean work surface dusted with flour.
  • Using your rolling pin, flatten the dough out and roll it into a 10 inch square.
  • Keep the top and the bottom of the dough floured always so that they don’t stick to the work-surface.
  • Beginning at the center of the square, roll out each corner to create a thick center pad with flaps in the corners.
  • Place the cold butter in the center, on the thick pad. Encase the butter with all the four flaps, by pulling them out gently and placing them over the butter. (see sketch above)
  • You should have a tight, neat package which is roughly about 8 inches.

Rolling the dough

  • Keep the surface floured. Roll the top and the bottom edges of the dough gently (this will keep the square shape throughout the rolling process).
  • Now roll the dough into a rectangle that is 3 times long as the square. So you should have rectangle that is 24 inches long now ( don’t worry about the width at this point as long as your dough is 24 inches long)
  • Make sure, the butter has been rolled out evenly with the dough. Using a pastry brush, discard the excess flour.
  • Now, fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds. You have completed your 1st turn.
  • Rotate the dough, so that open fold is to your right and the closed to your left, like a book. Repeat the rolling (to 24 inches) and folding it in thirds like before, brushing the excess flour. You have completed your 2nd turn.
  • Refrigerate the dough for 60 minutes before you start your next couple of turns.
  • You will have to refrigerate it for at least 60 minutes between every couple of turns.
  • You totally have to finish 6 turns to obtain a proper puff pastry.
  • After 6 turns, the finished puff pastry will have 994 layers of dough interspersed with 993 of butter.

Storing puff pastry

  • Using a pizza cutter, divide the finished puff pastry into 3 equal portions. Wrap each sheet with cling film. Place them in a ziplock bag and freeze before using. Thaw before using.

Notes

  • It’s summer. Though the recipe calls for chilling the dough in between turns, place the dough in the refrigerator every time you find it becoming soft or you see that the butter is melting out; even in the middle of rolling the dough.
  • Work on a cold surface if possible, always keep it well-floured and remember to brush of the excess flour with a pastry brush.
  • Be methodical, make sure your folds are even and proper.
  • Use a sturdy, fat rolling pin, not the thin one you use to roll out rotis
  • Never roll over the ends of the pastry or else your layers will come out glued together.

 Source: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

 

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Filed under DIY Thursdays, Pastries, puff pastry

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